Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou Lamoriello met with the media ahead of the game in Boston on Saturday, touching on the waiver claim of Alexey Marchenko, the decision to place Frank Corrado on waivers, and the club’s plans leading up to the March 1 trade deadline.
What do you like about Marchenko?
Lou Lamoriello: There were several things. First of all, our coach knows him extremely well. When you’ve had the opportunity to work with someone day in and day out, you certainly get the right reviews and recommendation. Size and strength. Has another year on his contract. He’s not a free agent after that. The age factor – he’s right in a perfect situation as far as what we’re looking for with our team to add someone.
Frank hasn’t seen a lot of NHL time. Is there always a disappointment and a risk that you might lose a young defenceman?
Lamoriello: I hope Frank is given an opportunity. I hope someone picks him up. I think that he’s been a solid soldier. It’s unfortunate when something like this transpires. He just wasn’t able to crack the lineup. No one’s fault. That’s part of the game. You need the depth on defense. We just didn’t feel that it was the right time. This gives us an opportunity to upgrade our situation. It also gives an opportunity for Frank to get an opportunity for himself.
When a player like that comes available and there is a history like that with Babcock, is that dialogue you guys have in terms of thinking about that 24 hour period where you may pick up someone like you did with Marchenko?
Lamoriello: Absolutely. You have dialogue in every situation. Certainly, our pro scouts are watching. They have input on anything that transpires. You always cross-reference someone if someone is aware of the player and has worked with them or came from that organization. Everyone has input in everything we do. Every organization has that. You can’t act any other way.
A month to go until the trade deadline. How busy do you expect this period to be?
Lamoriello: That’s an interesting question. There is so much parity in this league that you really don’t know. You go day by day, game by game. I just wish more of these games were two-point games instead of three-point games. But there’s no magic to it. We just have to see how things transpire.
You look at your defensive depth – how do you feel about it right now?
Lamoriello: We like our defense. No question about that. Except for our last two games, our defensive record and what we’ve managed [to do] is exceptional. When you can get stronger and you can add to the depth within an age group, it’s really a non-decision.
Do you feel like you have to be active and make moves in the next month?
Lamoriello: That’s, once again, a good question. As far as flexibility, you have to give to get. Will that interrupt what has transpired? We’re extremely happy with our hockey team. The development of the young players, the way the veterans on this club have responded… Last year they went through a process of trying to understand what Mike and his coaching staff were asking of them. They have that [now]. Mike has devoted a lot of his time with his staff to the young players who have responded. We are extremely pleased with this group as far as the process that has been developed and that we’ve all bought into as far as where the end result will come. At what time is an unknown.